When building a new website, maintaining and improving your SEO and organic trade should be a pivotal pattern goal. This requires a transparent bargain of how SEO and website pattern work together and careful formulation for a site migration. If all is finished correctly, we should keep (and improve) rankings and traffic.
Unfortunately, in a genuine world, this is mostly not what happens. The site launches. Organic trade tanks. And afterwards panic sets in. Unfortunately, we get a call like this any week. Most mostly from tiny business owners where a detriment of organic trade means that leads or sales delayed down and put a business during risk.
It is critical to comprehend that all is not mislaid and in a infancy of cases, there are a few common suspects to censure for a detriment of traffic. In this article, we cover how to diagnose and redeem trade and rankings when a website pattern goes wrong.
Step 1 – Gathering Information
We don’t need a lot here yet in an ideal universe we would wish a following:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Date of launch
- Website URL
- Historic or choice URLs
- Historic keyword rankings (if available)
Step 2 – Confirmation
Now it’s time to dive into Google Analytics and Search Console and examination a trade drop. What we are looking for here is a dump starting a day or week of a redesign. This dump might be delayed and plain or mostly a sudden, sheer decrease.
As an example, a next picture shows a 90 percent trade drop. This was a unsuccessful redesign for a charity. They contacted us after this happened and we did some pro-bono work to assistance them get behind on track. This was substantially a misfortune box we have seen yet it demonstrates how badly things can go wrong with organic traffic.
Your initial pier of call here should be Google Analytics:
Google Analytics Acquisition All Traffic Channels
To serve endorse a vast dump in trade we can demeanour during only organic trade or a accumulation of channels. If we see an organic dump and other channels are comparatively unaffected, afterwards this serve indicates that a redesign is a law-breaker here.
If we have Google Search Console and keyword rankings afterwards these can all be reviewed to assistance we endorse a date of a drop.
Step 3 – Understanding a Losses
Before we can wish to urge things we have to know a waste to assist us in a research and remediation. To do this we wish to get a softened bargain of keyword rankings and pages that were many affected.
If we have ancestral ranking information afterwards run these reports to get an overview of some pivotal areas where positions might have been lost. Where ancestral keyword rankings are not available, some renouned SEO collection can yield ancestral ranking information for analysis. Alternatively, a site owners will typically have an thought of what keywords they used to arrange for – this is not terribly systematic yet it can give us an thought (which we can demeanour to determine in Search Console if available).
Landing page traffic
We will wish to examination before and after trade in:
Google Analytics: Behavior Site Content Landing Pages
If we have a few weeks (or longer) given a emigration we can examination to a duration before and see that pages were generating a many traffic.
This can be wily as mostly page names change in a redesign. So, we have to brand a pages that ranked and perceived a many trade and examination them to a reflection on a new site.
In a misfortune box scenario, we might find calm or pages that were benefaction on a before site yet that has not been combined on a new site. No content. No traffic. If a calm exists on a new site yet is only not receiving trade afterwards we might be looking during some-more of a technical issue.
If this is a vast site, it can assistance to put this information in a spreadsheet so we can examination adult a aged and new pages for easy reference.
I am a vast fan of regulating a Wayback Machine here to perspective a before chronicle of a site: https://web.archive.org/. With this tool, we can take a demeanour during these pages that were ranking and examination them to a applicable pages on a new site. Again, this can softened assistance us know earthy changes to a pages.
Step 4 – Usual Suspects
With an bargain of a waste we can demeanour during a common problems and what we can do to put things right in any scenario.
Redirects. Whether blank or misconfigured is a many common emanate we see. When rising a new site, we wish to do one of a following for all critical pages:
- keep a URLs a same (ideal)
- 301 route from a aged page to a new page
A elementary approach to exam this is to get together 10 or so of a top trade URLs from a before site (from analytics or a Wayback Machine) and try to revisit these pages in a browser. If there is no route afterwards this is partial of your problem.
If a pages do route we need to check them in a apparatus like ScreamingFrog or any online HTTP header apparatus (there are many giveaway ones available) to safeguard that we see a 301 route to a scold page.
A site owners we was articulate to recently had a simple grasp of SEO and had tested a redirects so was certain they were okay. When we checked a headers they were all 302 proxy redirects. That emanate got bound and trade started to stand behind to strange levels.
In another new job, a in-house selling group had tested all aged URLs and could see that they all had a 301 route in place. Unfortunately, they had not checked a pages they were redirected to as these were all 404s.
You unequivocally have to exam this end-to-end. In a browser. In a crawling tool. Test all aged URLs. Test redirected pages. Make certain it works and determine all critical redirects.
Another common emanate is that calm that achieved formerly is no longer on a site. If a calm does not exist, afterwards we can’t rank. Ensure that all high trade calm is benefaction and a scold redirects are in place.
This can take a bit some-more primer bid yet work by a high trade pages that we identified in Step 3 and we can get an thought of what is happening. If those pages now only 404 or route to a general page (homepage is a passed giveaway) afterwards we expected have a calm issue.
Changes to calm can also have an impact. If a page is benefaction yet a calm has been altered afterwards we will need to perform a qualitative review. Is a new page as good as a aged page? What has changed? The web repository is your crony here.
Protocol and domain issues
If your site was formerly on http://example.com and with a new site we also make changes to a custom (https), subdomain (www), or domain afterwards your redirects need to take this into consideration. https://www.example-2.com is not a same as http://example.com. Here we only need clever care of how your redirects are put together and an courtesy to fact per a domain, subdomain, and protocol.
In 2018, many sites have several before iterations, mostly with many changes to a protocol, domain name, and subdomains. We have seen cases where a emigration was clearly rubbed good yet trade was still falling. The means finished adult being associated to a ancestral change of domain that was not taken into consideration.
As an example:
2008 – 2016 a site ran on www.example.com
2016 – 2017 – a site used www.example-2.com with www.example.com 301 redirected
When a new site was launched in 2018, a emigration was rubbed rightly from a aged to a new yet a developers had no believe of a before domain and that ancestral route was never put in place. Unfortunately, in one pivotal instance a strange domain that had over 10 years story was lost.
The takeaway here is to demeanour behind and know any ancestral domain changes and redirects before to this initial design.
Sometimes a new site is only not good put together and a problems describe to a technical optimization of a new site. Crawl issues, authorized URLs, indexation – there is a lot that can go wrong. In this case, we will wish to control an SEO and website audit to safeguard that a technical SEO is 100 percent dialed in.
As with technical, infrequently a optimization does not make it from a aged to a new site. Sadly, we still see sites with a same page pretension on all pages and other genuine basis only not finished properly. Crawl your site and make certain a basis are finished correctly.
Something else here to cruise is a impact that a website emigration can have. This is something during my group that we call turbulence. The bigger and some-more difficult a site, a some-more turmoil we can see. The categorical indicate here is to be patient. Check everything. Double check everything. But if trade is jumping around a bit for a few weeks as prolonged as we are certain all is in good sequence only reason plain while a new pages get indexed and a comparison pages tumble out of a index.
Step 5 – What if Everything Seems Okay?
So we launched your new site. You had a plain emigration plan. You have checked all over and there are no issues. But, we are still losing traffic. What gives?
Is your analytics set adult operative correctly? Make certain all pages are rightly tagged and are stating page views. Consider new changes like AMP pages.
Did your website launch in a timeframe of a Google Algorithm change? The Panguin Tool allows we to map your analytics reports to a timeline of all Google updates. Using this apparatus we can brand if your trade dump lines adult with a specific algorithm update.
Does your trade always take a downward spin during this time of year? Review analytics for before years and Google Trends to safeguard this is not only a healthy downturn.
Changes to hunt engine page layouts can impact organic traffic. Featured snippets or even a pierce from 3 to 4 ads can have an impact on clicks. Ensure there are no mitigating factors here.
If your SEO has not always been squeaky purify afterwards it is value checking we don’t have a primer penalty. Log in to Search Console and take a demeanour underneath primer actions.
Security issues / Hacking
Hacking and confidence issues can also impact traffic. If your site has been hacked we should get a presentation in Search Console and your SERP listings will expected uncover a “This site might be hacked” or a “This site might mistreat your computer” next your URL. Google does not always get this though, so run a site: authority for your URL to examination indexed pages and brand anything suspicious.
Getting Back on Track
In an ideal world, we would never find ourselves in this situation. We would safeguard we know all there is to know about SEO and web design and carefully devise for a site emigration to safety a SEO.
But, if we do find yourself in this unattractive situation, afterwards following a stairs here should assistance we get your SEO behind on lane and your small business SEO on indicate once more.
Opinions voiced in this essay are those of a guest author and not indispensably Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.